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Strokes down in sickle cell children due to screening, transfusion

Incidence of overt stroke risk in sickle cell disease has dropped more than 10-fold primarily from use of transcranial Doppler screening and prophylactic transfusion, according to new research.

The incidence of overt stroke in sickle cell disease has declined more than 10-fold, thanks to use of transcranial Doppler screening and prophylactic transfusions, research published in the May 3 online issue of the Journal of Pediatrics shows.

Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia reviewed the incidence of sickle cell-related strokes and rates of prophylactic transfusions before and after an ultrasound-screening program began in 1998. Data were collected on 475 patients from 8 years before the screenings and on 530 children for 8 years after the screenings were initiated.

Before screening, 21 overt strokes were reported; after screening, only 2 such strokes were noted. Of those 2 strokes, 1 child was not old enough for a screening, and the other child had high velocities only in the anterior cerebral arteries.